Swedish candy firms reported for targeting kids

Sweden's Consumers Association said on Tuesday it had reported two sweets makers to the country's consumer ombudsman for violating strict laws on advertisements targeting children.

“These commercials break Swedish law because it is unclear the adverts are indeed adverts,” general secretary of the association, Jan Bertoft, told AFP.

The ombudsman is to investigate the test case involving candy maker Karamellkungen and ice cream maker Hemglass’s internet-based advertising. The agency will decide whether or not to take the case to Sweden’s Market Court, Bertoft said.

Swedish law includes an outright ban on television commercials broadcast in the country targeting children under 12 years of age.

An equivalent provision on Swedish-based websites does not exist, but the association wants internet ads to fall under the existing legislation for television.

“We want a tightening of the law for advertisements on the internet. Advertisements should look like advertisements, as they do on television and in papers. It’s like the wild west on the internet,” Bertoft added.

The consumer watchdog commissioned a report on advertising of children’s food products on 93 web sites often visited by children, as well as company sites. In all, 277 web pages were studied by researchers at Lund University, in southern Sweden.